Quick, Inexpensive, New Idea for Hurricane Storm-Surge Protection

Jim Blackburn

Jim Blackburn, the noted environmental lawyer and Rice professor, will hold a meeting to review new ideas on storm surge protection in and around Galveston Bay. If you or one of your loved ones works at one of the petrochemical plants or refineries near the Bay or Ship Channel – or if you use the Bay for recreation – you may be interested in this.

Quick, Inexpensive, Storm-Surge Solution

Says Blackburn, “No issue is more serious to the future of our region than is hurricane surge flooding, and we have a unique, once-in-a-lifetime chance to solve it relatively cheaply and relatively quickly. There are 800,000 people, 2.2 million barrels per day of refining capacity and over 200 chemical plants in harm’s way. 

Piggybacking on Ship-Channel Widening

At the current time, the Port of Houston is trying hard to find a way to widen the Houston Ship Channel to allow two-way traffic.  The SSPEED Center at Rice University has developed a hurricane flood protection plan that would utilize the dredged material created by the Port’s proposed widening project. The plan calls for building a 25-foot bay barrier system that would extend from Houston Point in Chambers County down the ship channel to a terminus at the Texas City hurricane protection levee system. It would combine flood protection with navigation enhancement along with recreational access to Galveston Bay, says Blackburn. 

Storm Surge Meeting Details

Speakers at the meeting will explain this new opportunity. They will also provide an update on the Corps of Engineers planning process and an update from Texas A&M.

Time: 6:30 – 8 PM
Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Place: San Jacinto College Central Campus
Music Building: Corbin Hall
Address: 8060 Spencer Highway, Pasadena, TX 77505

Important, but Not Covered by Flood Bond

“We in Harris County need protection from flooding coming in from Galveston Bay, just as we need protection from rainfall flooding,” says Blackburn. “The 2018 bond issue did not provide funding for surge protection.  We must find concepts that work and ways to fund these concepts sooner rather than later or else we risk significant loss of life and homes, loss of our regional economic engine and the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.”

Mark Calendar and Invite Friends

So mark your calendars for May 15. This public meeting is sponsored by Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia. This should be of particular interest/concern to anyone who works near the Houston Ship Channel or the eastern sections of the City of Houston.  If you are concerned about this issue or the alternatives that might be chosen to address it, please come.  And please let your friends know about the meeting too.

About Jim Blackburn

Jim Blackburn is a professor in the practice of environmental law in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Rice University. He teaches courses in sustainable development and environmental law. He is also a practicing environmental lawyer with the Blackburn & Carter law firm in Houston and a Rice faculty scholar at the Baker Institute. At Rice, he serves as the co-director of the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disaster (SSPEED) Center.

Posted by Bob Rehak on April 24, 2019

603 Days since Hurricane Harvey